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News » N.O. group making its pitch for Super Bowl


N.O. group making its pitch for Super Bowl


N.O. group making its pitch for Super Bowl
The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the New Orleans Saints are expected to send their proposal to host the 2013 Super Bowl to the NFL today.


"After many months of detailed work, the Sports Foundation, on behalf of the New Orleans Saints , is extremely excited to be turning in our first draft of New Orleans' bid for the 2013 Super Bowl," said Jay Cicero, the Sports Foundation's president/CEO. "It's a true team effort, led by the Saints and the Sports Foundation. The city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, the Superdome, the Morial Convention Center and the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau all have been vital to making this happen."

This initial proposal -- which had to be submitted by Wednesday -- is expected to cover the technical aspects of the bidding process, such as the number of available hotel rooms, available space for a pregame tailgate party and other space needed for the many Super Bowl-week activities. It also will include the event's budget -- which Cicero declined to reveal -- and some of the key components in the ongoing lease discussions between the Saints and the state.

The group will submit its final version of the proposal next month. The group will then convene May 18-20 at the NFL owners meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where it will make its presentation to league owners, who will vote on the game's site.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle the city faces in competing with Phoenix and Miami for the 2013 Super Bowl is the lack of a lease extension for the Saints. Without a long-term lease, the city's chances of hosting its 10th Super Bowl are remote.

"As Mr. (Saints owner Tom) Benson pointed out recently, he feels optimistic and remains very positive about working toward securing a Super Bowl for New Orleans; that has always been a major priority during his ownership," said Greg Bensel, vice president of communications for the Saints. "But as Commissioner (Roger) Goodell pointed out, even though he remains positive about New Orleans hosting a Super Bowl, an important element to securing that Super Bowl is a long-term agreement. We are anxious to get that component finalized."

Bensel added that the Saints are very pleased with the work of the GNOSF for taking the lead role in processing the bid. "It has a track record of success in securing events for our city, especially Super Bowls," he said.

The Saints' current 10-year lease, which pays the team $186 million over that span, expires after the 2010 season.

Doug Thornton, the regional vice president for SMG, the company that operates the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena on behalf of the state, said if a new lease isn't in place, the Super Bowl bid would be rescinded.

But the Saints and state have said that scenario isn't likely, as talks are progressing well, and they are confident a deal will get done.

Benson said this week at the league's meeting in Dana Point, Calif., that if the team and the state have a long-term lease agreement in place by the May meetings, he believes New Orleans is practically a shoo-in to bring back the NFL title game for the first time since 2002.

"Oh, I feel very good about that," Benson said. "I think everybody's itching to get back, I really do. They like New Orleans. It's a great place to have a Super Bowl. So I think if we can we will get this done, and we're going to get us a Super Bowl."

Thornton and Cicero -- veterans of the Super Bowl bidding process who helped New Orleans secure the games in 1990, 1997 and 2002 -- said it's difficult to determine the early favorite for the 2013 game. But both had to be encouraged by the remarks from Goodell, who said at the NFL meetings that he would like to see the game return to New Orleans for a record-tying 10th time if all the elements are in place.

"New Orleans has been a great Super Bowl city, and I think with all that they've been through, they'd do a terrific job," Goodell said Monday. "And it would be great for the community, and it would be great for the NFL."

Cicero said the proximity of the 2013 Super Bowl (Feb. 2) and Mardi Gras (Feb. 12) is not a problem.

"We've already taken measures to alleviate that issue," Cicero said.

Miami, which will host its 10th Super Bowl in 2010, and Phoenix, which has hosted two Super Bowls, are considered prime destinations. But Cicero pointed out that the Sports Foundation has never lost a Super Bowl bid.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 27, 2009

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